I spent some time during Christmas break tallying up grades for the boys in each subject, and made a report card for each of them. It’s the first time I’ve ever graded them on their schoolwork, so I had some new ground to cover. Philip helped me figure out what percentage of their grades tests & quizzes would count (50%), what percentage daily work would count (from 25% to 50%, depending on the subject), and what percentage other things like notebooking pages, speed drills, etc., would count (from 25% to 50%). For scoring, we decided we’d go old-school and require a score of 94% or above in order to earn an A (many schools now count anything 90% and above as an A, which doesn’t sit well with me. I grew up having to earn 95% —and later, when standards were lowered, 94%— in order to make an A, which seems more fitting. After all, A’s should be a challenge to earn).
Then Philip whipped up some report cards for us to use. One section is for academic grades, and we devised a second section for conduct and character. I chose to use letter grades for this section, too, just to keep things consistent. Both of the boys could use some improvement in these areas, so they each made mostly B’s as a starting point…they now have feedback and can be working on each area that they made B’s in. It seems to have motivated them to do better, but time will tell. 😉
They each did really well on the academic side of things. I was happy to discover that they each made mostly A’s. Gray got all A’s in his main subjects, a B in writing, and a C in handwriting. He should’ve made an A in writing, because that’s his gift…but he’s like his mama, and when he’s assigned to write some things (like book reports), he doesn’t enjoy it and doesn’t do as well as he’s able. And I hope that the C in handwriting (he wasn’t thrilled about it) helps to motivate him to be more diligent in his penmanship, because he can write beautifully in cursive, he’s just gotten sloppy over the past year or so.
Des made all A’s except for a B- in handwriting. He could stand to be more diligent in his penmanship, as well, and he’s resolved to earn an A next time. I’m quite proud of him for making so many A’s, because he’s excelling in all his subjects now, despite having had some struggles in the past.
I can already see a positive difference in each of them after having received their grades, so I’m going to keep it up. It seems to be a good source of feedback, and an excellent motivational tool. Especially because they’re promised cash for each A that they earn. 😉 Plus the option of a bonus $5 for straight A’s. Though they earn cash for each A they make in the academic section, the conduct/character section has to be straight A’s in order for them to earn money for those A’s. The sad part of this story is that we have the cash amount totaled up that they’re each supposed to get for their A’s, but we’ve had to put them off until Philip gets a check in from one of his clients. Groceries and house payments had to come first, and there was literally nothing left to give them. Poor kids! (And poor parents…haha! 😉 )